The Capitals are all too familiar with how difficult it is to score against Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Midway in the second period Saturday, when the Capitals were looking for the equalizer, Alex Ovechkin spun out to beat a defenseman and sent a feed across the ice to the waiting Evgeny Kuznetsov, who backhanded a one-timer into the net.
Latest Rangers stories
Well, physics and logic dictated it should have gone into the net.
It did not.
Instead, Lundqvist, making the most acrobatic of saves, shifted to the left side of the crease, fanning his right leg and right blocker up to essentially windmill the puck out of harm's way. The save would prove to be pivotal, as Kuznetsov would score shortly after that to cut the Rangers' lead to 2-1.
"Hank had to come up with a couple big saves," coach Alain Vigneault said by way of understatement. And though Lundqvist did give up two goals -- the second on a nearly impossible shot on which Ovechkin scored from his knees -- both he and Capitals goalie Braden Holtby all but stole the show (and more than a few goals).
"After what happened last game . . . I was really annoyed," Lundqvist said, referencing the Caps' winning goal with 1.3 seconds left in Game 1. "We've got to leave everything out there and we didn't want any regrets this time of the year. You work as hard as you can and we came out with a big game at the right time."
Lundqvist made 30 saves, including 15 in the second period when the Capitals, lagging in the early moments, seemed to find their legs. He has been in goal in nine straight one-goal playoff games with a record of 6-3 dating to last year's Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings. That's the longest active streak in the NHL.
With Saturday's win, Lund-qvist has won 10 of his last 13 appearances. In the last two, he's had to face the league's most prolific goal-scorer in Ovechkin.
"There's not a lot of players who can stop what he does out there and it's a challenge every game to try to stop him," Lundqvist said. "To be able to shoot it that hard, on your knees, he definitely surprised me a little bit over there, but you've definitely got to be ready for anything."